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Deaths, Riots Over 130-Year-Old River Feud Highlights India's Water Risks

  • Expanding cities, falling water tables creating flashpoints
  • Pressure increasing on courts to resolve water disputes
Cauvery water demonstration in Bangalore on Sept. 12.

Cauvery water demonstration in Bangalore on Sept. 12.

Photographer: Manjunath Kiran/AFP via Getty Images
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Coffee farmer Bose Mandanna has watched tempers flare in the southern India state of Karnataka as fast-growing cities encroach on increasingly scarce water supplies.

His beloved Cauvery -- a river that originates less than an hour’s drive from the 69 year-old’s home in the Talakaveri Mountains -- is at the center of a water sharing spat between Karnataka and neighboring Tamil Nadu. Those tensions spiraled into violence last month that saw two people killed and property worth millions torched in Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru, also known as Bangalore.